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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Coping Strategies

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

Healthy Coping Skills for Uncomfortable Emotions

Healthy Coping Skills for Uncomfortable Emotions

Coping Strategies

Coping Strategies are actions we take -- conciously or unconsciously - to deal with stress, problems, or uncomfortable emotions. Unhealthy coping strategies ten to feel good in the moment, but have long-term negative concequences. Healthy coping strategies may not provide instant gratification, but they lead to long-lasting positive outcomes.

Examples of unhealthy coping strategies: Examples of healthy coping strategies:

• Drug or alcohol use • Exercise

• Overeating • Talking about your problem • Procrastination • Healthy eating

• Sleeping too much or too little • Seeking professional help

• Social withdrawal • Relaxation techniques (e.g. deep breathing) • Self-harm • Using social support

• Aggression • Problem-solving techniques

Example Scenarios




Scenario Discussion Questions

• What consequences might result from this individual’s unhealthy coping strategy?

• What healthy coping strategies could be helpful for the individual?

• What barriers might be preventing the individual from using healthy coping strategies?

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Coping Strategies

Describe a problem you are currently dealing with:

My unhealthy coping strategies:

Consequences of unhealthy coping strategies:


Healthy coping strategies I use, or could use:

Expected outcomes of healthy coping strategies:

Barriers to using healthy coping strategies:





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